Toyota LandCruiser 300 Series: all the changes revealed

The new LandCruiser 300 Series shares plenty of DNA with the 200 Series it will replace soon, but a lot has changed.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new LandCruiser.

– The 300 Series is the latest in a long line of LandCruisers that started with the BJ in 1951. There are the 20 Series (1955), 40 Series (1960), 50 Series (1967), 60 Series (1980), 70 Series (1984 and still on sale), 80 Series (1990), 100 Series (1998) and 200 Series (2007).

– Toyota began testing the 300 Series in Australia in 2015. Early prototypes used the body of the 200 Series.

– Much of the testing was done at the Australian Automotive Research Centre, a proving ground at Anglesea near Victoria’s Great Ocean Road. But the LandCruiser was also secretly taken to private stations.

– There are six model variants of the new LandCruiser. GX, GXL, VX and Sahara are grades that carry over to the new generation, while Sahara ZX is a new five-seat luxury flagship and GR Sport is a new off-road range-topper.

– The 300 Series is the most expensive LandCruiser ever. The base GX sells from $99,458 drive-away, which is about as much as the luxury-focused VX sold for when the 200-Series went on sale late in 2007. The most affordable seven-seat version is the GXL, at $112,446 and the range now tops out with the Sahara ZX ($152,036) and GR Sport ($150,965).

– The GR Sport is the most off-road focused LandCruiser and comes with three differential locks (front, centre and rear) for the first time, maximising traction in off-road conditions. Other models get only a centre locking differential, while the Sahara ZX picks up a limited-slip rear differential.

– Ground clearance has increased by 10mm to 235mm, while the new model can drive up a 45-degree hill and traverse a 44-degree slope.

– The off-road approach angle is 32 degrees on all models except the Sahara ZX with its unique front bumper (24 degrees). All models have a 25-degree departure angle. That’s up from 30 degrees and 20 degrees.

– New technology allows the driver to “see” underneath the car while driving. Images from various external cameras are stitched together to produce the give a virtual view of the underside of the car, making it easier to position wheels when off-roading.

– The traction control and electronic systems are smarter, faster reacting and a lot quieter, so there are fewer unsettling clunks in heavy off-roading.

-The Multi-Terrain Select system is available on all models except the GX and can now be engaged in high range. MTS tailors throttle response, gear shifts and steering to various conditions, including Dirt, Sand, Mud, Deep Snow and Rock. An Auto mode monitors sensors and adapts the electronics to the conditions.

– The new model has the latest iteration of the Australian-developed KDSS (Kinetic Dynamic Suspension System). However, whereas it was previously available on the GXL, VX and Sahara, it’s now only fitted to the GR Sport.

– Since the 1980s the LandCruiser has been offered with an eight-seat version but the 300 Series comes with either five- or seven-seat options.

– The third row of seats now folds into the floor rather than up against the side of the car. That makes for a more usable luggage space. On the Sahara the third row has a power folding function.

– The new model has an aluminium roof, bonnet, doors and front guards. The rear three-quarter panel (around the rear wheels and bumper) is made of steel, mainly because it’s more easily repaired in remote areas.

– For years Toyota has fitted “barn doors” to the base model LandCruiser GX, while others got a traditional rising tailgate. The split swing-out rear doors allowed for easy fitment of accessories such as jerry cans or extra tyres. All new models have a lift-up tailgate.

– Claimed average fuel use has dropped 6 per cent, from 9.5 litres per 100km to 8.9L/100km but in the city, the new model uses 11.3L/100km, marginally more than the previous model. On the freeway, the new model uses 7.6L/100km, well down on the old model’s 8.5L/100km.

– Tyres are 20mm narrower than those used on the 200 Series to reduce weight and rolling resistance, in turn improving fuel use.

– The body is 10mm shorter, but the wheelbase (2850mm) and width (1980mm) are identical to the 200 Series.

– The lighter body means the new LandCruiser can carry more weight even though the gross vehicle mass (the weight of the car and everything in it) has dropped by 70kg to 3280kg. Payloads have increased to between 700kg and 810kg, from between 610kg and 710kg.

– The fuel tank is smaller, at 110 litres, down from 138L. That contributes to the weight reduction.

– The 300 is the first LandCruiser to get a V6 diesel engine. Previously six-cylinder LandCruisers (before the 200-Series) used an in-line configuration. The 3.3-litre twin-turbo V6 diesel makes 227kW and 700Nm, up 13.5 per cent and 7.7 per on the 200.

– A new 10-speed auto has been tuned to slot into 10th gear below 100km/h.

– The LandCruiser comes with a head-up display for the first time.

– There are 10 airbags and all models come with autonomous emergency braking.

– More than five prototypes were used for testing in Australia, more than anywhere else in the world.

– The air box has swapped to the opposite side, so the snorkel will run up the passenger side of right-hand drive cars.

– Buyers will be able to option a bulbar that incorporates a winch.

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